Behind the scenes in an aluminium extrusion factory

Aluminium Production: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Factory

At Sign Trade Supplies, we take great pride in supplying the UK sign industry with high-quality aluminium signposts, specialist display profiles, and box section. Our aluminium profiles come in a vast array of shapes, sizes, and powder coating colours to meet our customers' diverse needs. We recently went on a factory tour at our partnered aluminium mill to gain insight into the manufacturing process of our products, from the initial solid aluminium billet to the finished profile. It was an incredible experience, and we would like to share a few pictures from our day 

The manufacturing process can be broken down into four key stages.

Stage 1 - Billet Preparation 

The recycled aluminium alloy billet arrives at the factory in large solid rods, Due to the infinite recyclable potential of aluminium the billets have up to 70% recycled content. The billet is heated to a specific temperature to make it more malleable and easier to extrude and loaded into the press.

Aluminium billet preparation for extrusions

Stage 2: Extrusion process

The extrusion press is loaded with a unique profile die, once the heated billet is loaded into the extrusion press it uses an immense amount of hydraulic pressure to force the aluminium through die, this then determines the shape of the final extrusion.  

Aluminium dies being loaded for sign post extrusion

Stage 3: Cooling & Trimming

The newly extruded aluminium profile holds it heat and malleable properties, so it is allowed to cool to retain its new shape. Once cooled you are left with an extremely long profile, it is cut to pre-determined sizes and sent to the next stage. 

Stage 4: Finishing

The batch of aluminium profiles then undergoes quality checking and further processing to remove any contaminants prior to the powder coating process. Once loaded onto the conveyor the profiles are run through a large powder coating plant to provide a perfectly even finish.

Aluminium profiles entering powder coating process

One of the most impressive aspects of the manufacturing process is the use of recycled aluminium. Our aluminium normally contains a recycled content of up to 70%, making it a more environmentally friendly product. Using recycled aluminium has several benefits, including less energy consumption when manufacturing the billet, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, conservation of natural resources, and saving the metal from landfill sites. 

During our tour, we also learned about the quality control measures in place to ensure that our products meet our high standards. Each product goes through a rigorous testing process to ensure that it meets the required specifications. The process includes testing for strength, and powder coating adhesion. 

The factory tour provided us with an appreciation for the incredible process that goes into producing high-quality aluminium products. We are proud to supply the UK with environmentally friendly and durable aluminium products that meet our customers' diverse needs.